Lincoln University Dean to discuss racism, prejudice at MRRL tonight

Dr. Darius Watson

A Lincoln University official will join a panel at the Missouri River Regional Library tonight to discuss racism and what it means to be prejudiced.  The discussion is prompted by Capital Read novel, Nothing More Dangerous, by Allen Eskens, which explores the themes of racism and prejudice in Missouri in the 70s and 80s.  Eskens will be at the library to discuss that novel on September 30. 

Tonight, Dr. Darius Watson, Interim Dean of Admissions and Enrollment at LU, and Delora Scaggs, principal of Thorpe Gordon Elementary School, will serve as a panel during a discussion entitled “Let’s Talk:  Dealing Honestly with Racism.”  Watson says one of the thing he plans to address is the concept of privilege, but not strictly white privilege.

“But the reality is that privilege in this country is very much a socioeconomic concept, it is not a racial concept.  It’s just been subsumed within the racial discussion because one group has enjoyed the social and economic privilege of our society for so long.” 

Watson says that point became very clear to him once he came to Lincoln University, an historically black college and university.

“There’s black privilege on this campus.  The African-American community enjoys a certain privilege because of the way in which the system itself was set up.  And once you’re able to understand that, and then understand that, ‘Okay, as soon as I cross the street off of campus I’m now in a different area of privilege,’ you start to understand and maybe even break down some of these preconceived notions of what black, white and privilege are.” 

Watson and Scaggs will also discuss prejudices and biases, and asking “the right questions” of one’s self, even when it’s tough. 

The discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. and Watson is anticipating a high turnout.